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Retrospective: Who is Holly Holm? And Why You Should Care!


Much is being done to further WMMA but with the current season of TUF and the massive attention being drawn to Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate it’s easy to forget the wealth of talent that WMMA truly has out there. In an article published just a few hours ago we mention Holly Holm for the first time here at SciFighting. You may be wondering, however, who Holly Holm is and why you should care.  Well some say with a drop from Welter to Bantam weight she could be the one female contender to give Ronda Rousey a run for her money and if the video above, from just a few years ago, of Holly sparring with current UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones doesn’t tell you enough then Wikipedia has an excellent writeup about her early years, transition into boxing and MMA.

Quoting directly from her  Wikipedia biography:

About Holly Holm

“5’8” southpaw Holly Holm from Sandia Heights in Albuquerque, New Mexico was born on October 17, 1981. Holm grew up in Bosque Farms and graduated from Manzano High School in 2000 and studied for a year at the University of New Mexico. She played soccer and tried gymnastics, swimming and diving before getting into boxing and kickboxing. Holly’s path to a boxing career began with aerobics. “I started aerobics to keep in shape, saw the (kickboxing) class, thought it looked pretty cool, so I thought I’d try it for one fight and see what it was like,” says Holm.

Her aerobics instructor was Mike Winkeljohn, who also taught kickboxing. Winklejohn soon saw Holm’s potential. “She’s got that instinct,” he says, “When she gets hit, she knows it’s time to come back. I wish I could bottle (what she has) and sell it.” “(Boxing) came easier to me than I thought it would,” says Holm. “When I first started, my punches seemed real clumsy, but Mr. Winkeljohn is a great instructor. He helped me with my technique, and he felt … he could work with me.” In Kansas City, MO in the Fall of 2001, Holly competed in the International Kickboxing Federation and Ringside’s annual amateur kickboxing USA national championship tournament. Holly defeated Chrisanne Roseleip by unanimous decision in the final round of the tournament, winning the national title in the international rules adult women’s welterweight division, which would mark her last kickboxing appearance before her pro debut. Her overall amateur kickboxing record stood at 6-0-2.

She made her professional kickboxing debut on June 1, 2002 in an IKKC five-rounder against Valerie Anthonson of Grand Junction, Colorado at Santa Ana Star Casino in Bernalillo, north of Albuquerque. Her pro boxing debut came on January 25, 2002 at the Isleta Casino and Resort south of Albuquerque.”

Professional Boxing Career

“She has held several welterweight titles and was by some regarded as one of the best female welterweight in the world and among the best of all time. She also has been named Ring Magazine female Fighter of the Year, twice in consecutive years in 2005 and 2006. She is a big draw in her home town of Albuquerque, having all but 3 of her fights there and just one of her fights outside of her home state of New Mexico.

In June 2008 she became the undisputed welterweight champion and holder of belts from 140 to 154 by defeating former champ Mary Jo Sanders by decision. They fought a rematch on October 17, 2008, at the Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit, which ended in a draw.
On December 2, 2011, Holly took on knockout artist Anne Sophie Mathis of France for the vacant IBF female and WBAN welterweight titles. Holly was eventually badly beaten up by the stronger Mathis without the referee interfering, even going into the canvas without a count, and finally lost by knockout in the 7th round, which would be dubbed as the upset of the year in women’s boxing. The two rematched on June 15, 2012 for Mathis’s WBF female, IBF female, and WBAN welterweight titles. Holly took a unanimous decision win over Mathis, becoming the new champion and avenging her brutal KO loss.”

Her Transition into Mixed Martial Arts

“Holm made her mixed martial arts debut on March 4, 2011 against Christina Domke at an event promoted by her boxing promoter Lenny Fresquez. She co-headlined the card with Jackson’s Submission Fighting teammate Keith Jardine. Holm won the fight via TKO in the second round after her opponent was unable to continue due to leg kicks inflicted by Holm.

Holm returned to MMA on September 9, 2011 at Fresquez Productions: Clash in the Cage against Strikeforce veteran Jan Finney. She defeated Finney by TKO in the third round. On February 28, 2013, Holm made her Bellator MMA debut against Katie Merrill at Bellator 91 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Holm won the bout via TKO in the second round. Holm announced that she would retire from boxing after her May 11, 2013 boxing match against Mary McGee so that she can fully concentrate on her MMA career. The message came as a punctuation in the negotiations to arrange a title-battle between Holm and the Norwegian champion Cecilia Brækhus. Holm went on to defeat McGee via unanimous decision, for her boxing retirement bout.  On July 19, 2013, Holm faced Allanna Jones at Legacy Fighting Championship 21. She won the fight by head kick knockout in the second round.

Holm will now face Erica Paes at Legacy Fighting Championship 24 on October 11th, 2013. Paes is the only women to ever defeat Invicta FC Featherweight Champion and former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion, Cristiane Justino.”

Special thanks to “Right Said Fred” from our awesome Facebook community for the tip on the video and inspiration for this story!

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Luca Rajabi
Luca has been passionate about martial arts and eastern philosophies since childhood. As an athlete, inventor and entrepreneur Luca founded SciFighting on the principal lessons learned from his life experience "fighting" to preserve his health and fitness. Although born with inherently poor and inconsistent health he pushed forward to learn as much as he could about the sciences of technology, medicine and mental health. Years of study, working with physicians and combined analysis finally began to bare fruit by his early twenties. Starting with Fencing, cross training and body building then moving to Boxing, Western Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Eskrima and an eclectic assortment of self defense techniques. Luca's core philosophy is that to win a battle every fighter must balance their mental and physical health. Luca has said that "With well developed technique, conditioning and mental focus a sound strategy will most often win over brute strength alone." It is in this spirit that he passionately advocates for the "Science of Fighting".